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What was the focus of the National Training School for Women and Girls?

In 1901 the National Training School for Women and Girls opened in Washington, D.C., to carry out the focus of its title—to educate women and girls. Its founding president was Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879–1961), a brilliant orator who was a lifelong booster of women’s education and a tireless civic organizer. By the end of the school’s first year, the enrollment had thirty students; twenty-five years later it boasted of a student population of more than one thousand women at the secondary and junior college levels. In 1934 the name was changed to the National Trades and Professional School for Women. The school was again renamed, becoming the Nannie Helen Burroughs School. Born in Orange, Virginia, Burroughs was the daughter of former slaves who advanced economically as soon as they were freed. She was educated at the M Street High School in Washington, D.C., which was one of the nation’s outstanding secondary schools. She was well known for her unyielding advocacy of racial pride and worked tirelessly to advance women through education, the black women’s club movement, and the National Baptist Convention.


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